Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pizza con Pancetta

With one glaring exception, this was a very simple pizza.  The exception (also known affectionately as "the Nightmare") was the Fiery Red Pesto sauce that is the base for this pizza.    The only reason we had Fiery Red Pesto on this pizza was because I had some in the freezer from my attempt to make it a few weeks ago.    WARNING: Do not attempt to make Fiery Red Pesto unless you have a good sized food processor!  The recipe calls for roasting a red bell pepper until it is blackened and you are able to peel off the skin.  You then process it with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, tomatoes, chili powder, Parmesan cheese and olive oil.  I tried to process it in my little mini chopper and ended with breaking the machine.  From that point my memory is a blur, much like any traumatic event.
 I seem to remember using my hand blender and spewing red goo over the walls and window in the kitchen.  Then I believe I attempted to use my regular blender and just about burned out the motor.  When I lifted the blender off the base the seal had broken and I ended up with more red goo all over the counter.  After all that trouble, I certainly wasn't going to give up on having Fiery Red Pesto, so I scooped it off the counter and used it.  I promise the counter had started off immaculately clean!  When all was said and done every possible blender/chopper I had in the house was dirty and I was scraping pesto off the kitchen window and walls for the next two weeks.   The next time I make this pizza, I will just use canned pizza sauce.  So I spread the Fiery Red Pesto over the prebaked pizza crust.  Then I sprinkled on some Peccorino Romano cheese. 
Dough spread with Fiery Red Pesto
Sprinkled with Romano
Pancetta before
Now it was time to add the pancetta!  Pancetta is basically thinly sliced Italian bacon and can usually be found at the deli counter in your local supermarket.  The first time I made this pizza I  arranged the uncooked pancetta over the Pesto, but it ended up making the pizza greasy and the pancetta never got crisp enough.  This time I cooked the pancetta between layers of paper towels in the microwave much like I would do regular bacon. 

Pancetta after 2 minutes in the microwave

Adding the basil
Even though the recipe didn't call for it, I thought the addition of some fresh basil would be yummy.  The recipe also didn't call for any cheese at all, but after the Pecorino Romano, I thought this pizza was just crying for some mozzarella.  Judging by the amount of leftover pizza (none), I would have to say this was a definite favorite.  While we were munching we watched "The Conspirator", the story of a northern lawyer who defends Mary Surratt, a woman accused of being involved with the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.  Excellent movie, especially for a history buff like me!  The story is very intriguing, well played out, and gave me a lot to wonder about.
Ready for the oven

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